Vision Statement – Reviewing the draft ICT curriculum

Posted on November 22, 2012 by Claire.
Categories: vision statement.

Michael Gove, Education Secretary, stated when speaking to the BBC (2012)

“Because technology is changing so fast we can’t afford to be stuck with a curriculum that is out of date…we should be concentrating on having something that is creative and rigorous so that our children, instead of just using the apps, are creating the apps of the future. Low level [computing] skills [are to be replaced with a curriculum which allows children to be] genuinely creative.”

courtesy of poster-street
http://www.poster-street.com/posters_inner/teacher-posters–inspirational-poster–if-we-teach-todays-students-as-we-taught-yesterdays_we-rob-them-of-tomorrow_84.

On 22nd October 2012 a draft ICT curriculum was released (Naace, 2012a), although this is subject to review and endorsement by the Department for Education.  The focus of this new curriculum is split across three key areas; Digital Literacy; Information Technology; and Computer Science.

Digital Literacy is, according to the draft, being able to access, understand the impact of and use digital technology.  This reflects Borawski (2009); being “digitally literate is to be able both to understand and effectively use the various sources of information and communication in the digital world,” himself reflecting upon the work of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy Panel (2002).  Digital Literacy therefore is not a new concept but one which has, until now, not been (explicitly) included in the National ICT Curriculum.

Information technology is the use of digital technology to solve problems effectively.

Computer Science is the understanding of how the technology works including the design and programming  stages.

 

At Key Stage (KS) 1 pupils are to make use of and evaluate a range of technology including digital media which  could include; cameras; video recording equipment; digital art; audio equipment; to name but a few.  Pupils are also expected to make use of the internet for research and learning purposes.  One key implication of internet use is e-safety.  This is addressed at KS1 with children being encouraged to “communicate safely and respectfully online [and] keeping personal information private.”

courtesy of Farlingaye High School http://www.farlingaye.suffolk.sch.uk/eSafetyforstudents/

Pupils are also to begin using programming software for simple programming purposes.  The ‘Daisy the Dinosaur’ programme (see Computer Programming for the ICT illiterate post) would be an ideal starting point for young children as they learn to piece together the information to solve problems such as making Daisy twirl and roll etc.  This can then be built upon using more complex programming software such as Scratch and Kodu – again refer to the above hyperlinked post.

By the end of KS2 it is expected that pupils will have progressed to having experienced a range of electronic devises; standard PCs; ipads; digi-blue cameras; video recorders; programmable audio or lighting equipment; for example, and used these both independently and for group projects to  collect, analyse and present data/information with thoughtful design.

Internet use is expected to be developing through the use of search engines such as Google and Yahoo, with an understanding of how results are organised.

Programming continues making use of larger problems which need to be broken down into smaller parts.  An example of this could be the ‘Bash the Badies’ scratch program I created – again see above hyperlinked post.  The sprites have to be programmed differently depending upon what you want from them and aspects such as counters and timers can be brought in.  Errors are also to be recognised and fixed.  This was, for me, a natural component of working with the scratch programming.  I made numerous mistakes which needed to be identified and rectified.   The idea of loop structures such as ‘if…then…else’ in algorithms and programs also comes into play.  This could also include making use of software such as Microsoft Excel to create tables which automatically carry out a programmed operation in certain cells and provide the total in a given cell such as finding the total of cells B2-B7 and displaying this total in cell B8.  Data can then be converted into various graphs to make use of the various forms of data representation stated – this forms a clear link between ICT and Mathematics and is likely to be used to display findings from investigations such as those in Science or Geography.  Problem solving in general can also be developed through the use of websites such as ‘The Problem Site’ for mathematics games, ‘Learn for Good’ for a wide range of problem solving activities or the ‘TES iboard’ which contains a wealth of resources spanning the curriculum.

The notion of e-safety continues to be developed at KS2 with pupils securely storing personal information as well as making ethical and responsible use of technology and being respectful of others.

It is anticipated that by KS4 pupils will have enough experience and interest to go on to specialise in specific ICT areas such as Computer Science or Digital Media etc.

 

Much of the new curriculum contains elements of the old curriculum but in a simplified format.  There is however clearly a greater focus upon programming, presenting and staying safe, although the draft does appear to give an unbalanced weighting across all aspects of ICT (Naace, 2012b).  As the old curriculum has been dis-applied teachers are now free to explore aspects of ICT they deem suitable.  It would however be worthwhile investigating and becoming familiar with aspects of ICT related specifically to the draft curriculum such as programming software and algorithms as it is likely these will be a key focus of the implemented curriculum.  The opportunities the draft curriculum provides for individual creativity has been welcomed;

“We need rigorous teaching of computing in schools, but fusing art and technology together. We need to be creators of technology, making games or fighting cyber-crime, rather than just passive users of it. We need an education system that allows art and science to be taught alongside each other” (Hope, 2012).

With the range of technology available today ICT can easily be embedded throughout the curriculum, enhancing learning for all.  With the technological world advancing at such a rapid rate ICT teaching needs to remain at the forefront of those changes providing children with the most up-to-date and relevant education possible as reiterated by Gove the current curriculum cannot prepare British students to work at the very forefront of technological change”.  This then would surely necessitate regular reviews of current requirements and more frequent updating of the ICT curriculum than we have previously witnessed along with teachers who strive to remain at the forefront of technological developments.

 

 

 References

BBC (2012) Michael Gove: Students ‘Turned Off’ by ICT lessons. [online]. London: BBC. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-16515443 [Accessed 15th November 2012].

Borawski, C (2009) Beyond The Book. Children And Technology. Winter 2009. Pp.53-54

Gove, M. In: Department for Education (2012).  Harmful ICT Curriculum Set To Be Dropped This September To Make Way For Rigorous Computer Science. [online]. Runcorn: DfE. Available from: http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/inthenews/a00201864/harmful-ict-curriculum-set-to-be-dropped-this-september-to-make-way-for-rigorous-computer-science [Accessed 15th November 2012].

Hope, A. In: McLean, H (2012) New ICT Curriculum Proposed By Royal Academy Of Engineering And BCS. London: The Guardian. Available from:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/mortarboard/2012/nov/13/ict-computing [Accessed 19th November 2012].

ICT Literacy Panel (2002) Digital Transformation: a Framework for ICT Literacy. In: Borawski, C (2009) Beyond The Book. Children And Technology. Winter 2009. Pp.53-54

Naace (2012a). ICT Programme Of Study Consultation. [online]. Nottingham: Naace.  Available from: http://www.naace.co.uk/naacecurriculum/programmeofstudyconsultation [Accessed 18th November 2012].

Naace (2012b). Programme Of Study Response. [online]. Nottingham: Naace.  Available from: http://www.naace.co.uk/naacecurriculum/posresponseoct2012

[Accessed 18th November 2012].

movie making with kids!

Posted on November 21, 2012 by Claire.
Categories: mobile technologies.

In this session we were introduced to imovie (trailer) maker.  Although I didn’t use this as I got to grips with QR codes and green-screen technology instead I did watch our tutor demonstrating it.  It does look like a lot of fun and I did watch from the sidelines as another group put their’s together.

Basically you select the genre you want you movie trailer to be in – adventure, romance, etc and then go out and take short video clips which would fit with your trailer.  You then use the app to piece together the trailer by uploading and editing your videos to fit the sequences of the trailer.  You can add titles and end-credits to your trailer and the overall effect is extremely professional.  I would love to use this in a classroom and understand that it is not just something you could set the pupils off to do.  It would require lots of planning, especially to establish what each scene should be and how you are going to shoot it.  You can introduce the concept of angles, close-ups, distance, mid-shots etc as well as mood, colour and lighting.  These all have links to KS2 Literacy – En3; planning, drafting, developing, language use, layout, form and content etc.

For a great example of what can be accomplished in just one hour (adults not children remember) follow this link to Ben’s post about the ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ video his group made.

 

Here is a super (and lighthearted) idea of what you can achieve with imovie maker.

Moving on from the slushy stuff, here is an example of what you can do with a digi-blue camera and Windows Movie Maker.  My daughter and I created this video (with a bit of help from her little brother and step-dad) for her school project on fire.  The project didn’t have to be a video but as we had just looked at digi-blue cameras and Windows Movie Maker in our ICT sessions (last year) I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to practice with the technology and get to know it before attempting to use it with a class of 30 lively and excited pupils.

ok so we need to work on the sound next time but overall I was impressed, having never made and edited a video before!

 

 

Green screening

Posted on by Claire.
Categories: mobile technologies.

Surprisingly you might think, I had come across the concept of Green-screens prior to this session.  However I had only ever seen them used by professional companies, usually in the run up to Christmas when they set up in a shopping centre and try to convince you to part with your hard earned cash in exchange for a 90 second video/dvd of your child sitting in a sleigh against a green back drop which creates the effect of the sleigh going on a trip through snowfields and dense fir forests in search of Father Christmas etc.  My Dad has always said he would love to have a go on one of those but being the ‘goat’ that he is would love to pretend to fall off the back of the sleigh and then slowly but surely, one hand at a time and lots of effort later clamber back onto the sleigh looking somewhat worse for wear – sorry just thought I would throw that in as the idea of my dad doing that really makes me chuckle and I know he would do such a good job of it.

So we got to play with green-screen technology then.  This involved someone sitting/standing/dancing whatever in front of a green screen whilst the person with the recording equipment – in this case  an ipad – photographs them against a chosen background which can only be seen on the screen; it is important to make the floor green if you want to get their feet in the shot.

Once you have your photo you can up load it onto Paint.net from a saved file.  It is important – as we found out through LOTS of trial and error – to rotate your photo so that it is the correct way up before uploading to the site as it cannot be done on there.  First you open the background and re-size it to what you are happy with.  Then click on the ‘layers’ button and choose to ‘import from file’.  You now select the photo of your actor/victim.  Your person against the green backdrop now appears on the screen.  Click on ‘effects’, ‘photo’ and ‘Chroma key’.  You can then adjust the background so that it disappears and you are left with your person against the intended backdrop.  You can also re-size the person making them larger/smaller as necessary.  The photo (right) is the outcome of our session.  If you look carefully at the pictures along the top you can sort of see the (disjointed) process we went through to get the overall effect.

Movie FX is a film making app available on ipads that uses background images or videos to place your person (who is standing against a green backdrop) in the scene.  You simply point the camera at the green-screen and select the colour background on the screen that you are using.  You then point the camera at your actor standing in front of the green screen, use the slider to adjust the contrast and press the red button to begin recording.  This app was very straightforward to use although we did have problems with the contrast cutting out too much of the person or not enough of the background.  Once you have a contrast you are happy with though all that is involved is directing and filming.  Here is a link to Jenny’s post which contains the video we made together.

In school green screens could be used for a number of purposes.  At the most basic level they could be used as a backdrop for making personalised Christmas, Easter, Valentines, Diwali, Halloween (the list is endless) cards for children to take home for family or as keepsakes.  It could be better used for presentational purposes.  Children could make documentaries about a trip to somewhere they have been learning about e.g Egypt, Ancient Rome, The Grand Canyon etc.  Pupils could even get creative by presenting on the Great Barrier Reef or from a river bed by finding a suitable background and then ‘donning’ the right grear e.g. a snorkel, mask and flippers.  The child could then make incomprehendible sounds through the snorkel whilst holding up scripted placards to deliver the information.  It would certainly create a few laughs.   This could even be given a whole school approach with each year group creating a short newsreel about the topic they have been studying and then putting this all together to create a whole school news report to be shown in an assembly, at parents evening, open days etc.  I saw something similar to this – but without the green-screen – in my daughter’s class assembly last year.  They had been learning about mega-structures and their class assembly was a newsreel shot in various locations around the school grounds using replicas of famous mega-structures that they had built.  This was very enjoyable but could have been enhanced greatly by using green-screens.  They could even have put their reporter and mega-structure against a completely incorrect backdrop e.g. the Eiffel tower in the Sahara Desert and then reported on how many mega-structures had been mysterious relocated overnight and then give the history of the mega-structures etc.  At the end they could have shown the reporters at the real sites declaring that all was well now as the mega-structures had been returned safely to their correct locations.  I am in no way insulting or belittling what was done by the school as it was very creative on the children’s parts, required a certain amount of artistic licence and imagination on the parents parts and was certainly highly amusing.  Its just a shame I didn’t record it.

Here then is a funny little clip I found of how green-screening can be used with amateurs to demonstrate the effect it can create.

 

This link takes you to a series of short films all about using green-screening with pupils and covers everything to do with film making really.  It is from a website containing a wealth of information for teachers on many aspects of using creative arts in school.

 

This final video is a fantastic example of how green-screening can be used with children.  Wouldn’t it be fantastic to be able to do something like this with pupils, perhaps for the Christmas production which parents could then come to and watch just like at the cinema.  The school could even raise money by selling hotdogs, popcorn and ice cream! (Okay so it would take an awful amount of time, planning, organisation, imagination/creativity, resources and staff and pupil collaboration but the final result would be amazing and surely something that would stick in pupils’, teachers’ and parents’ minds probably for the rest of their lives).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l27iQPnpmDE

 

Happy green-screening!

 

War graves get QR codes!

Posted on November 8, 2012 by Claire.
Categories: mobile technologies.

Morning all, just a short post…

Here is a report I read this morning about an Oxford War Cemetery putting QR codes on graves which give further information about the people buried there.  It just goes to show how valued the role of QR codes is.

BBC

QR codes

Posted on November 7, 2012 by Claire.
Categories: mobile technologies.

So we have now been introduced to the novelty that is QR codes.  Yes I had come across these before ( I am not that far behind with technological advancements) and I have even got an APP on my phone for scanning and accessing the links.  However I certainly did not realise how simple it was, and free of charge too, to create these.  I thought businesses spent thousands of pounds employing other companies to create these strange looking squares, and perhaps they do, but we found out today how to do it for free.

“So what do QR codes found in magazines, leaflets, supermarket aisles etc have to do with Primary Education?” I hear you ask.  Well, they can be a useful and imaginative means of engaging children with their learning.  A mathematics display may contain QR codes as the answer to puzzles or questions or QR codes may be used as an interactive and creative approach to lesson work, they can even be used for treasure hunting making use of map reading/co-ordinate skills – a Geography/Mathematics link.  They can be used to create whole class book reviews, provide links to websites for extension work during lessons or for research at home and saves printing out endless copies of instructions and websites to look at etc.  You can copy and paste enough QR codes for all pupils to have one each onto one sheet of A4, which can then be cut out and stuck into homework books, planners etc.

This approach to learning would captivate children as it would give a sense of solving a mystery through detective work to the lesson.

Here is an idea I found for incorporating QR codes into Mathematics work.

tes

 

 

 

 

This QR code will take you to my other post for an idea of how to use QR codes creatively. The website we used to create the codes is quite simply called scan.me.  All you do is click on create code and then follow the simple steps to create the righttype of QR code for your resource.  It really couldn’t be easier. 

  my blog

 

 

 

 

This code will take you to a webpage with further ideas for using QR codes in the classroom.

 

I have enjoyed trying out the Qr codes and will enjoy incorporating them appropriately into my classroom too.  I do believe it is easy to over use them and children will gradually disengage from them as they become too ‘same old, same old’ so to speak.  Their use does therefore need to be planned considerately into the classroom as any other learning aid would be.

Geocaching around the school with QR codes.

Posted on by Claire.
Categories: mobile technologies.

I have just posted this idea on Laura K’s blog in response to her post on Geocaching.  I really like the idea of Geocaching but think this may be a bit difficult with a group of primary school pupils as it involves searching for items which may be spread some distance apart and you never know what people may have left.  I have therefore come up with a geocaching around the school idea – a bit like a treasure hunt.

  • Obtain an aerial view image of the school and grounds and get it blown up to a decent size
  • Place a grid over the image to create squares with co-ordinates.  Copy this so that there are enough for each group.
  • Hide items in certain locations making a note of the co-ordinates.
  • Create a sheet of QR codes, each code provides one set of co-ordinates.  Copy this so that each group has one.
  • Children are tasked with finding and recording as many items as possible. The children will have to understand the importance of not removing the item.
  • Each group begins by scanning a different QR code to ensure all groups are active right from the start and are not falling over each other trying to get to the same item.
  • The hunt continues until all QR codes have been scanned and locations investigated.
  • The first group to return with the all items correctly identified wins. Teacher checks each answer sheet as it comes in and tells children if any items are incorrect but does not tell them what the correct item is. The group then has to go back to that co-ordinate and find the correct item.

Pupils could then be sent home with a letter informing parents of what has taken place and giving information about geocaching and how to get involved with it.  This way pupils can hopefully continue to enjoy using technology to search out hidden treasures.

Do you think this could work?  What do you think about trying to Geocache properly with primary school pupils?

 

 

I am not going to copy Laura so check out her blog  to see what she said about Geocaching and to view the websites she suggested.

Getting stuck in

Posted on November 6, 2012 by Claire.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Hey, just wanted to say I’m getting into this blogging lark now.  I must admit I was a little daunted by it originally and I think I thought it was going to be a lot more difficult than it actually is.  Sshhhh don’t tell anyone but I think I am coming around to the idea of blogging!

That’s all, night folks!

Ipads

Posted on by Claire.
Categories: mobile technologies.

Just a quick post about using ipads in schools. 

Yes you guessed it, we have been exploring ipads.  Call me old fashioned but I hadn’t actually had the opportunity to ‘play’ with one of these before.  I’ve always been intrigued and have been pestering the other half for a while now, but when you have children to keep and nursery fees to pay luxuries like ipads really are few and far between.

So the ipad then.  Well, yes, I have to admit I did rather like it.  You can download screen after screen of apps from the Apple store and can scroll through the screens to find the app you require.  The ipad only has one button on the front which takes you back to the front screen, making it appear very user friendly, but as it is touch-screen technology the apps do contain lots of buttons which can prove problematic.  As I discovered when investigating a range of these apps, understanding how they work and what you are supposed to do is not easy.  Finding instructions or help for some of the apps was not easy, or impossible in some cases (although it may just be my inexperience).  However I did get around to using the morfo booth app which now appears to have been updated to a 3D version.  This app allows you to manipulate portrait photos of your friends/family/enemies if you like, as demonstrated in this video

Okay so the demo is being done on an iphone but the principle is the same.

I myself have a Samsung Galaxy SII phone which utilises the android market.  I did discover a morfo booth-like app which allows you to turn your nearest and dearest (sorry Alun) into their ancestral form using an app called MEanderthal.  (The app is available for both iphones and android.)

Homo neanderthalensis 200,000 – 28,000 years ago

Homo heidelbergensis 700,000 – 200,000 years ago

 

The website contains a vast quantity of information, from the Smithsonian  National Museum of Natural History, about the evolution of the human race and research into this area.  This could be linked (with a twist) into KS2 Science Sc2,5 – adaptation, looking at how humans have adapted to changing environments/habitats as well as Geography looking at the impact humans have had on areas and how even our ancestors with their most basic of tools and knowledge will have used and altered their habitat/environment.

 

So back to ipads.  Playing with the apps was easy enough and getting to grips with the ipad is pretty self-explanatory making their use in school pretty valuable in my opinion.  They are lightweight and portable and fairly robust too (a must with primary school pupils).  There are two downsides to them however in my opinion.  The first being the lack of USB port making uploading resources onto a PC problematic.  However as the ipad connects directly to the internet using WIFI it will be possible for pupils to email each other their resources/work and hopefully save their work onto the student domain of the main server – if this is possible through a WIFI connection.  The second problem then is that they are an apple product.  None of the schools I have been into use apple products (although I am aware that some schools have them, I just haven’t seen it for myself yet).  They all used what we might call ‘standard’ PCs and Laptops with Microsoft software.  Apple products are reputedly on the dearer side of the market and with the current Government making more and more cuts, finding the money to invest in ipads may be an issue.  It would be wonderful to think that all schools can give pupils access to a range of both Microsoft and Apple products enabling them to get to know how both systems work and begin to evaluate them and make judgements as to which may be most suitable to use in given circumstances, after-all justification and reasoning are key skills to be learnt during Primary school!

 

 

 

 

computer programming for the ICT illiterate

Posted on by Claire.
Categories: programming.

With changes taking place to the Primary curriculum for ICT it would seem that programming, i.e making things happen, is taking more of a vital role as per KS2, 2&4.  So us teachers need to get clued up on the availability of programming software and how it works if we are to successfully teach it.

So, I remember back in the days of attempting to undertake A-level computing, trying my hand at simple computer programming.   I really didn’t get what we were doing, I just remember lots of  ‘write this’ and ‘if this…read that line’ in green writing on a black screen – welcome to the ‘joy’ that was MS DOS.  Yes I am showing my age now,                                                                             “MS what?” I hear you shout!  Granny’s Garden anyone?  I remember begging our teacher daily to allow us to play this game on the one computer that the entire year (4 classes) had to share. Anyway enough reminiscing, back to programming for the ICT illiterate.

So, recently we have had the pleasure of being introduced to the modern world of programming.  Programmes such as Scratch and Kodu aim to make programming accessible to young children, a vital tool in an ICT rich world.

However, although much easier to understand and work with than MS DOS, Scratch still tested my own understanding of programming.  The programme involves clicking together parts of a jigsaw to create a set of instructions that when put together correctly with some careful consideration, makes your ‘Sprite’ (character) do as you’ve instructed.  This is however more difficult than it sounds.

  Bash the badies  was created after a lot of trial and error.  Teaching a class of 30 seven year olds to play this would likely create more problems than any teacher would wish to encounter EVER!
In the following session we worked in groups to create a resource.  We decided to create a game based around habitats.  The idea of the game is to remove from the sea the animals that don’t belong there, leaving only sea creatures at the end.  The good thing about Scratch is that timers and counters can be added, giving the games a more (or less) challenging context.  The idea behind the resource is that children could then add to it by creating a new background and thus a new habitat.  They can select the animal ‘sprites’ for the habitat and ensure that animals not native to the habitat can be removed by the game player.
One thing I did find with Scratch was the complexity of it.  It does not appear possible to begin programming with only a select few options available.  Users are presented with a wealth of programming options which at times feels somewhat overwhelming.  However getting started guides, scratchcards and video tutorials are all available from the Scratch website and can easily be printed off for pupils to use independently or in  small groups.
Another programming app for ipads I have come across is ‘Daisy the Dino‘.  This is a much more simplistic programming tool   enabling children to make Daisy dance across the screen.  This app would be ideal for younger children such as KS1 (2c) and also children who may struggle to comprehend the complexity of the Scratch software.  After all is it not our job as teachers to ensure all children are included in learning and are able to access the curriculum at a level suited to them!
Having played around a little with these programmes I definitely feel more confident about teaching it.  I think I would begin with Daisy the Dinosaur if the children have had no prior experience of programming and then move onto Scratch.  After an initial demonstration I would get them to use the scratchcards to create specific resources.  As their confidence develops I would allow greater autonomy and encourage them in small groups to use trial and error and discuss what they think they need to do to make things happen.  This would develop their comprehension of what is involved in programming rather than just following a set of instructions.  It is important to remember that all children are different and will have had differing experiences.  The children will likely need to access the programming software at different points (e.g. not all children in the class may need to begin with Daisy, some  may be competent enough to begin exploring Scratch).  As teachers it is our job to promptly assess each child’s ability and move them on/step them back accordingly.
What are your thoughts on the above?
(by the way I have no idea why the last few paragraphs are not separating.  They look fine on the dashboard and I have tried playing with them but it makes no difference to the layout on the site.  Maybe my post is too long!)

Online safety

Posted on October 16, 2012 by Claire.
Categories: e-safety.

So we have all heard about the issues surrounding internet safety, however (and feel free to correct me if I am wrong) internet safety does not form part of the ICT curriculum for Primary education.  Learning about staying safe does appear in KS1 PSHE in the form of rules for staying safe (3g) and  different types of bullying (4e) although there is no direct reference about this relating to being online.  The same can be said for KS2 PSHE. There is mention of antisocial behaviour (2c), recognising and dealing with risks (3e), resisting and reporting pressure to conform (3f) and finding information and advice (5h).  But nothing points directly to teaching children about the risks of the online world.  So is it therefore the role of schools to be teaching children about staying safe online or should that be left to the individual parent?

My take on online safety is that, if we, as teachers are encouraging pupils to make use of the online world then we need to also ensure that those children do so safely and securely.  It is not enough to simply restrict their viewing to protect them from inappropriate material because what happens when they go home and there are no restrictions in place?  The same applies for social networking sites.  Many children now have access to the internet in their bedrooms or on their mobile phones and other internet enabled devices.  Rules are put in place to try to protect children, for example only those over fourteen years of age are supposed to create Facebook accounts, but how can this be enforced and regulated.  Many of my friends’ children now have Facebook accounts and some of them are not even ten years of age yet.  We hear on the news about those who predate innocent children who easily fall victim to the lies and twisted truths.  Surely then as educators we must ensure children are aware of the risks the online world can pose.

It isn’t just strangers who pose a threat online either.  More and more cases of online or cyber bullying are now being reported.  Once upon a time, children subjected to bullying could go home and shut the door on it so to speak.  That just isn’t possible anymore.  Cyber bullying is a constant and very real issue in many children’s lives, so much so that some children have found suicide to be the only means of escape – if only they had known about the wealth of support and advice available and how to access it.  Just because the bullying isn’t face-to-face, it doesn’t make it any less real, painful and important. So where then can you (and by you I mean anyone; child or adult; son or mother; friend; auntie; cousin or teacher) go for advice and support on cyber bullying?  The bullyingUK website offers support and advice on all aspects of cyber bullying to children, parents and schools as do Childline, , Beatbullying and Kidscape

Teachers can find resources to use in the classroom or assemblies etc from organisations such as the Anti-Bullying Alliance and Teachtoday which equate to more than just pupils producing posters.  Pupils could even role play and digitally record a cyber bullying situation, editing the footage to produce an anti bullying film.  This makes use of their skills in ICT as well as providing links to the Literacy curriculum, and as seen on the video shy pupils do not even have to be seen on screen if they do not wish.

But what about the more general aspects of online safety such as protecting yourself and your personal information.  Surely this is just as important as dealing with the cyber bully.  Many adults – and teachers are no exception – fall victim to privacy scams which may entail losing your life savings to a complete stranger on the other side of the world or losing your job through not being secure enough with your Facebook visibility settings.  Surely children need to learn the importance of the various aspects of online safety as they are the next generation of online users and who knows what that world will be like.  Ensuring you are safe online needs to become almost ‘second nature’ to children in order that they can be successful in this continually growing and advancing online world.

Teachers therefore need to be aware of the issues surrounding online safety.  Training packages such as those offered by eyepat can equip teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure that pupils are well educated in this area.  The ICT curriculum as it was, has now been disapplied, however ICT remains a compulsory subject.  This means that teachers are now free to deliver ICT teaching as they see fit and teach the elements that they and their pupils deem to be important.

 

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